Did you know you can strengthen and tone your body without even moving a muscle? It’s called isometric movement and it’s an easy and effective way to help stay in shape. Even better, it can be done anywhere and without any equipment.

When you do this type of exercise, you tense your muscles but they don’t actually move. They create muscle tension in a static position rather than being dynamic through movement. For example, pressing your hands together as if in prayer and holding for 10 seconds is an isometric exercise.  You’ll feel tension in your chest and arms and yet your arms haven’t moved.

As well as toning muscles and building strength, isometric movement can also help you burn fat and improve flexibility. As this form of exercise doesn’t involve impact or a full range of motion, they are also a great way of getting your fitness back when recovering from an injury.

At MADE we incorporate isometric exercises into many of our fitness classes. Here are our top three for you to try either here in the gym or at home…

The Plank

The Plank strengthens and tones the core, bottom, upper thighs, arms and shoulders.

  • Lie on your front with your elbows pushed into your sides by your ribs, forearms and palms on the floor and toes tucked under.
  • Push up so that your body is supported by your hands (or if this is too hard, your forearms) and feet, keeping your back in as straight a line as possible and parallel to the floor.
  • Squeeze the muscles in your bottom and thighs, tucking your pelvis under to engage your lower abs. You should be aiming to create a straight line from your heels to head, so that your neck is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and then gently release. Repeat five times.

Wall Push

Wall Push strengthens and tones the arms, shoulders and chest, wrists and hands.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, about one to two feet from a wall.
  • Lean on the wall, with your arms bent.
  • Push as hard as you can into the wall, as if you are trying to move it.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat five times.

Squat Hold

Squat Hold strengthens and tones the thighs, hips and buttocks.

  • Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly lower yourself into a squat as if you are sitting on a chair.
  • Keeping your back straight, clench your buttocks together, making sure your knees don’t extend over the toes.
  • Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat 10 times.